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Terrorism Is A Result Of Current Salafism, And Hence We Should Reform It Because All Laws Are Not Appropriate In All Circumstances: Sheikh Kalbani

Reforming Salafism Is Essential To Curb Terrorism

Main Points

1.    The ideological origin of ISIS is Salafism

2.    Terrorist ideology may impact our children if we neglect our responsibility of not imparting them the proper guidance

3.    Declaring a Muslim a Kaafir and an apostate in order to justify his assassination has become cancer against which no one dares to speak out.

4.    Sheikh Kalbani: Certain things are incompatible with our current situation. As a result, we should adapt our approach and attitude to the needs of the time, and recognise that all rules are not suited for all situations.


By New Age Islam Staff Writer

22 October 2021

Sheikh Kalbani


When you declare that the terrorism that is taking place in the name of Islam is based on Wahhabism or Salafism, some people will assume you are saying this because you are not a Wahhabi. They will blame you for inciting sectarianism. However, dear readers! This isn't the case at all. While denouncing Wahhabism and Salafism, Sheikh Kalbani, a well-known preacher from the same sect and former Imam of the Grand Mosque in Mecca, remarked that terrorism is, of course, a product of Wahhabism and Salafism. During an interview, he explained how terrorism is an offspring of Salafism, adding that Daesh follows the same Salafist methodology as Saudi Arabia, with only minor variances in how those who violate the Sharia are punished.

On January 22, 2016, Sheikh Kalbani triumphantly announced on MBC-TV in Dubai that ISIS (Daesh) shares the same essential principles as he and his fellow Muslims. He rejects the (insulting) claim made by Western media that the Islamic State was established by "foreign intelligence." He comes to the conclusion that foreign intelligence services do not create anything; rather, they make use of what already exists. ISIS adheres to Salafism, which is originated in Saudi Arabia, according to the preacher.

Sheikh Adel Kalbani stresses that no other Islamic party, including the Muslim Brotherhood, Qutbism, Sufism, and Ash'ari, is capable of such better ideas. Everyone gets his "inspiration" from "our books" — the Saudi Salafi doctrines and books. ISIS, according to the cleric, is the consequence of Islamic revivalism rather than foreign interventions in Syria, Iraq, Libya, or Tunisia.

Here is the full interview:

Media anchor: Sheikh Adel Kalbani, do you believe ISIS is a result of Islamic revivalism?

Sheikh Kalbani: There is no doubt about this. No doubt.

Media anchor: in another occasion, you said that ISIS is an offshoot of Salafism. How is that?

Sheikh Kalbani: Look, some brothers say it was created by intelligence agencies, but intelligence agencies do not create new things. They exploit what already exists. So they exploited who was adopting this thought, and ISIS had adopted Salafist thought. It is not the Muslim Brotherhood’s thought, Qutbism, Sufism, or Ash’ari thought. They draw their ideas from what is written in our own books, from our principles. Who criticizes them the most do not criticizes their thought, but their actions. We do not criticize the thought on which it is based, such as the concept of apostasy (Murtad). Why don’t we explain this, and establish who is to determine the punishment, and so on? Instead, we discuss the way people are executed, saying that it is brutal that it ruins our image in front of the world: if we execute them in a way that does not show us in a bad light, then that’s fine. Therefore, the ideological origin is Salafism. Intelligence agencies and other countries might have taken advantage of this, helping ISIS to develop, providing them with weapons and ammunition, and directing them. No doubt, those behind them take advantage of this, but they exploited our own principles, which can be found in our books, among us. We follow the same thought but apply it in a refined way. You know, if someone contravenes...when some journalists were killed, it was a result of specific fatwas. Even with some scholars, they were punished and then blood was shed, according to Salafist fatwas, and not outside the Salafist framework.


Senior Saudi Imam of Mecca: ISIS Ideology Comes From Our Books, Our Principles; We Follow the Same Thought - Salafism

In his Arabic essays published in Al-Riyad, Sheikh Kalbani denounced the roots accessible in the Salafi stream that justify the slaughter of their opponents, as well as the clerics and community that dared not step out to refute them. Instead of rejecting and denouncing any new thought, Kalbani suggested that clerics must take their heads out of the sand and move with the spirit of the times.  Following are the translated versions of his two writings, as well as a summary of some of the key points presented in them.


Is Terrorism A Salafi Product?

Sheikh ‘Aadel Al-Kalbani

Whenever we watch the nets of temptation snatching our young people, and its threads pulling them into an abyss from which they only emerge with blood-soaked fangs, we remark, regretfully biting our fingers, "Where did this come from?" And how did they fall into it, as if we hadn't been able to do anything previously? They have strayed primarily as a result of our neglect. By our neglect, I mean the neglect of the parents’ generation as well as the neglect of the honourable members of society such as clerics, teachers, preachers, jurisprudents, and sociologists who are directly involved in that society. The words, the books, the sermons, the dramas, and all the artistic creativity and the essential link [to the audience] that these people present in all the media, whether print, radio, or television, [allow them] to monitor the ideas of the young people and to participate in balancing them. I exclude [of course] that tiniest of minorities whose throat is parched from warning about the extremism of the Salafis

Yes, this is the plant that has sprouted in the garbage dump of those who excessively pass judgment on others and pretend to represent Salafism. How gravely they have accused others of apostasy, of deviating from the right path, of heresy, and of licentiousness – as if the arena lies open before them and there is nobody to condemn them and no judge to punish them. Furthermore, they are received with feigned respect and admiration, and opportunities have been opened to them to plant in the minds of our young people that this one has gone astray and that one is an infidel and the other one is lax in religion. Even the greatest of clerics, past and present, are not spared their arrows.

They spread the principles of Islam in a twisted manner that makes them incomprehensible or distorted, and preserve things that negate Islam. They measure the judge, the educated, and the student, and even the simple folk by what they [i.e. these extremists] have learned by heart [but] do not understand, and think that they are entitled to rule that the above mentioned are apostates and to call down upon them the punishments of Allah that are no longer implemented and [by so doing, they think that they will] restore the glory and splendour of monotheism.

“This group thinks that no one but itself and its supporters is the source of good and the defenders of monotheism – because [its members] imbibed with their mothers’ milk [the view] that all Muslims worldwide do not understand [monotheism] and that they are not worshipping only Allah but are polytheists who worship graves… and that there are no just clerics besides their own clerics and their disciples.

 [They think that] only a cleric whom they love, whom they heed and obey, and on whose say they reject or validate [others] – only he holds the truth and acts in accordance with the ways of[Islam’s] just forefathers…

They spread out and multiply, and publicly call for following in the footsteps of some sheikh and for accepting his words in full. They have begun to classify people, preachers, and clerics – [for example,] this sheikh shouldn’t be listened to because he is more loathsome than the Jews and the Christians, and that fatwa deviates [from the right path], so it is forbidden to pray behind anyone who adopts it, or to sit with him, eat with him or respect him. They have begun… to separate the young people from the clerics who understand the result of [this activity by them] and what difficulties they are going to cause the nation.

Actually, there is no connection between the path of these extremists and the [true] path of the Salafis – which is tolerance, compassion, and gentleness, and in which there is no place for extremism and [religious] fanaticism. [Salafism] is a path that spreads love, brotherhood, and acceptance of the other among Muslims and coexistence with non-Muslims. But the thing is to understand it and to implement it – and not [just to] pretend [to do so] – in a way that is compatible with the deep roots of the past and with the demands of the present.

 [However,] what is needed is a perception for reforming ideas, not admonitions, reproof, reactions and word-sparing that deal with the symptom and ignore the disease! There is still enough time to rehabilitate [these ideas], ideologically and practically, and to prevent society from splitting into sects and groups that throng after dignitaries who are enveloped in an aura of immunity [to sin and error] and sanctity, with each group thinking that it has the right to guide the nation and recruit its young people.

 “A plant is always like its roots. If we want a good, fruitful plant, it is incumbent upon everyone to care for its roots, its water sources, the spread of its branches, and the fertility of the earth [from which it grows], and to protect it from ideas and viruses that turn its fruit and seeds to poison from which the generations sip and on which the young people grow up; from [these seeds] sprouts a plant that has in it no place for compassion and to whom love and friendship are totally alien.”

“We Remain Trapped In the Dungeons of the Very Distant Past”; We Should “Rely On the Past as A Foundation” For Building the Present And Future, Not Destroying Them


The Chains of the Past

Sheikh ‘Aadel Al-Kalbani

We never stop elevating the past at any cost, so much so that it has taken over our lives and thwarted our management of our present, and I do not know what it will do to our future. We claim that the past is the perception, the deeds, and the outlook of the forefathers [of Islam], to the point where if a catastrophe happens to one of us, he hastens to seek a solution for his catastrophe in a book written hundreds of years ago! And then we shout loudly, ‘Islam is compatible with every time and every place [!]’

 “What is very strange is that we remain trapped in the dungeons of the very distant past, chewing over the words of Malik [bin Anas], may the peace of Allah be upon him, ‘The last of this Ummah will not be successful unless they follow the same [pattern] that was successful in the hands of its first ones,’ and think that what it means is that we must remain in the first century of the era of the mission [of the Prophet Muhammad], in the same style of life, and in the same patterns and knowledge that he had.

 “From these words [of Malik bin Anas] I do not understand that our past [must] control our present and constrain our future; rather, I understand that [the past] is what caused the Prophet’s honourable Companions to change their perception, and brought about their wonderful transition from the caves of darkness and straying into the light of truth.

 What improved the situation of the first generation [of Islam] was not preserving the heritage of the forefathers and the ideas of the previous generations, but the complete opposite. The first generation [of Islam] abandoned the [pattern] of blind imitation, and with the descent [of Quran 96:1] ‘Recite in the name of your Lord,’ the use of the mind began, after it was neglected for many centuries; the wagon of change began to move and to shift the bitter reality full of oppression, backwardness, and idolatry with lofty and clear rational truths. They [the members of the first generation] opened their eyes to what had [always] been in front of them, but which the fog of imitating what their forefathers did had prevented them from seeing… until the honoured Quran arrived and removed this fog and enabled them to see what they had been blind to, and to distinguish what they had not noticed [before].

In the same spirit, I want the past to free us from the yoke of the backwards present – not drag us towards it. I want our past to make us see reality as it is, and for us to rely on it in the areas of development and culture, and for us to emerge from it with momentum towards the horizons of the future and with an enlightened perception. This [should be done] under the direction of the two revelations [the Koran and the Sunna] – and not by means of the opinions of people who have invested most of their efforts in studying that era [of early Islam].

 “We should rely on the past as a foundation from which we head out to the future and to the building of the present; this is better than turning the past into [something] that binds our hands and arouses among us rivalry, conflict, and opinions for which we fight and as a result of which we weaken and splinter. Had we done this [from the outset], we would be sitting on the throne of the pinnacle of culture.

We must acknowledge that our past contains things that are not compatible with our present. The religious collapse of the West happened only after it became fully aware of the depth of the yawning chasm between the scientific knowledge that serves the culture that the human mind has attained and the religious beliefs and laws set out by the church, which included beliefs that had been distorted or misunderstood, or were not appropriate for every time.

From among those who call for absolute adherence to the past there has emerged a young generation that defends and fights for opinions and ways that are devoid of the [the correct] Islamic concepts and religious views that can guide the Ummah in the right direction. This gang, that has granted itself the right to banish minds, has not grasped the situation of the Ummah, and has not managed to adapt to [today’s reality]; therefore its path is to subdue the other or to accuse him of apostasy and of deviating from the right path. [These people] can be found in all walks of life, preventing men of insight from advancing and catching up to the present and anyone who criticizes them and points out their mistakes is accused of being Khawarij – an accusation tailored for such [critics]. Anyone who talks about women’s rights is deviating from the right path and is loathsome and is lax in religion. Anyone who expresses a wise opinion that has been covered up and ignored because it contradicts their Salafism is going against the vast majority of the people… and so on…

What is strange is that these radical extremists who accuse their opponents of heresy and of apostasy acknowledge neither the stagnation of their own perception and ideas nor the worthlessness of their religious law and thus do not recognize that they have left seeds that are today inflicting suffering and torment on the Ummah.”


Important Points Drawn From the Two Articles of Sheikh Kalbani 

In the articles above, Sheikh Kalbani has brought forward some excellent points and facts. He states that the terrorist ideology may impact our children if we neglect our responsibility of not imparting them the proper teachings of Islam. And we'll have no choice but to bite our fingers regrettably if that happens. Our academics, instructors, and preachers too have a responsibility to properly educate the children of the Muslim community so that they are not misled by terror doctrines.

Sheikh Kalbani wants to say that we have an ideology in which our people issue Takfiri fatwas, as well as the ideology of declaring a Muslim an apostate or Mushrik, on the basis of which everyone rises up and issues a fatwa of disbelief and apostasy on his opponent, justifying his murder and assuming that he has a free hand to kill whomever he wants and leave whomever he wants. Declaring a Muslim a Kaafir and an apostate in order to justify his assassination has become cancer against which no one dares to speak out. On the contrary, our youngsters are taught that such and such a person is a Kaafir, that such and such a person is a polytheist, that such and such a person is an apostate, and that even our great scholars are not immune to this Takfiri fatwa.

It's a pity that Islamic ideals and beliefs are being perverted. These terrorist Takfiri groups consider themselves to be supporters of the truth and most ardent defenders and proponents of monotheism. They want to instil in our children's minds that only they are true believers, while the rest of the Muslims are grave worshipers, polytheists, or apostates, and therefore they should be killed, and that only their scholars and Ulama are devout, while the others are not. They regard themselves as pious Salaf followers, whereas the rest are considered traitors to the pious Salaf. . If we do not put an end to such beliefs and philosophies, we will continue to see carnage and murder.

In reality, there is no link between such Takfiri gangs and actual Salaf adherents. Compassion, brotherhood, peace and security, and forgiveness are central to the Salaf way of life. The way of the Salaf genuinely teaches to live with fairness, peace and tranquillity with both Muslims and non-Muslims.

Kalbani believes that the “Salafists” must cease preaching Takfiri ideology which justifies the killing of Muslims and other people. Only if we succeed in this will we be able to claim to be true Salafists. He wishes to emphasise that the current Salafist ideology is diametrically opposed to Salaf teachings.

One of the most important arguments made by Kalbani in his second piece is that certain things are incompatible with our current situation. As a result, we should adapt our approach and attitude to the needs of the time, and recognise that all rules are not suited for all situations. All of these tasks should be done with the help of our intelligence and logical reasoning.


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